Welcome to Part 2 of Curating Interests.
I discovered the idea of curating my interests after realizing that I was predominantly reacting to stimulus in my environment. I also curate interests to help me set personal goals. Curating interests helps to define a focus, and ultimately get more out of life. These exercises are about guiding us each toward what is most important to us, what nourishes, from the noise.
In Part 1 of Curating Interests; we looked at how we spend our time. This week we will be digging a bit deeper to explore our relationship with information.
This exercise is to help hone our focus by understanding our information habits. The exercise follows the same format as Part 1: Grab a notebook, pen, post-its, and highlighter pen. Read the assignment and then write. Make your initial list and add to it over the course of a few days or a week. (it’s important to let the idea simmer.) I suggest to take this inventory of all your sources of information at the same time. Much like hyperlinks, our ideas and habits connect, so it’s helpful to look at them together.
In Curating Interests, Part 1 you made a downtime list. Start with this list and build from there. Spend some time observing your information gathering behavior. We are going to add another column to the downtime worksheet: Habit (H) or Choice (C). We are going to specify whether or not this behavior is a habit or a choice we make. This step is important. So, let’s get started.
- List web sites regularly visited. Use your bookmarks and browser history to build a list of your top 20 most often visited web sites.
- List all social media. List all of your social media sites/apps you frequent. Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, message boards, etc…
- List all news sources. List any places you go to for news: Huffington Post, Reddit, CNN, Yahoo, whatever.
- List all TV/streaming media. Do you have the tv on while you are doing stuff? Watch Netflix like it’s your job? Put these down, too.
Spend sometime on this exercise. Observe your behavior over a week and fill out the downtime worksheet as you go. After you spent some time observing and recording your information behavior, make the distinction for each item on your list as to Habit or Choice. Then use your highlighter and draw attention to your choices. These are the things you seek out for a reason.
After doing this exercise I realized that Facebook was not enough of a positive experience for me. I disabled my personal account. I understand that many people feel this is not an option for themselves. Nearly everyone I have spoken to about getting off of Facebook says that they wish they could do the same. Many feel that they cannot leave Facebook due to an obligation. Even if you aren’t able to disable your account, you can edit with a heavy hand. Rather than unfriend and hurt feelings, it was easier for me to walk away from it.
You now have a list of what means the most to you. Use the Unfinished List to remove unfinished projects from your physical and mental space. Free up room for what comes next. You have just given yourself permission to let go. The Downtime List will help you see where your distractions are and ultimately, where your true interest lay. Use this list to remove the outmoded habits from your day to day. Use both of these lists and braindump where you want to go from here. What do you want to do with your time?
I hope you learned something about yourself by curating your interests. What a great way to start the year!